Better Call Saul is the new prequel spin-off from Breaking Bad is about a small-time lawyer hustling to make ends meet. In the first episode he has a big billboard put up to advertise his practice. The guy putting up the billboard falls, his DBI-SALA harness works, the lawyer rushes to the rescue, comedy ensues. The reason we’re mentioning this isn’t just because it’s a good tie-in with something in popular culture, and therefore will likely get way more visibility than one of our regular safety blogs – no way we’d do something like that – it’s because the show points out how vulnerable solo workers or guys working on small teams are if they should experience a fall.
We’ve written in the past about the importance of having a rescue plan in place and how dangerous suspension trauma can be for a fallen worker who isn’t quickly rescued. Lone workers do have a fairly recent option that they certainly could have used in the show, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting or funny. The worker could have fallen, then pulled the tab on his Latchways R20 Personal Rescue Harness and lowered himself safely to the ground. Not funny. Not exciting.
Unlike traditional harnesses that simply absorb fall forces and leave you dangling like a forgotten avocado, the R20 allows workers to self-rescue thanks to the integrated evacuation pack which, when deployed will lower a worker at a slow, controlled speed up to 65 feet.
So many workers are climbing in remote locations where a call to 911 will be a very long time in being answered. The Latchways R20 self-rescue harness allows a fallen worker to simply pull a tab that acts like a ripcord on a parachute. Strong, thin rope attached to the anchorage point unwinds at around 2 ft. per second, bringing the worker back to solid ground without the need to put other workers at risk carrying out a rescue. It has the added benefit of delivering the worker to the ground and releasing pressure from the leg straps and avoiding suspension trauma.
Could billboard installation guys use this product? You bet. Factory and facility workers? Check. Anybody who is working at a height of 65 feet or less and may need to self-rescue? Yes. Definitely. Would it make good TV if someone fell while wearing one? Probably not.